“Communication is a skill that you can learn. It’s like riding a bicycle or typing. If you’re willing to work at it, you can rapidly improve the quality of every part of your life.” — Brian Tracy
How much better would your life be if you had the most effective communication skills in the world?
A lot better, right?
One of the best ways to improve your communication skills is to model from the best. Or better yet, study what we learn from the best of the best, and put it into practice.
That’s where the 9 Laws of Effective Communication Skills come into play.
In the book, What More Can I Say?, Dianna Booher shares a set of 9 laws for building effective communication skills and helping you succeed in persuading, building solid relationships, and increasing your credibility.
Your Influence Matters
You communicate every day. Each day, your communication skills are put to the test.
Each interaction is a chance to create a better outcome by communicating more effectively, whether it’s to tell somebody “I love you”, or to help inspire a team to ship “the next big thing.”
“Your influence–to change how someone thinks, discard a harmful habit, adopt a healthier lifestyle, choose a better way of interacting, improve job performance, accept and move through a challenging situation, restore a broken relationship–can literally save someone’s career or life.”
Effective Communication Skills Lead to Success
Your communication skills are the key to your success for your career, relationships, and more. You might have brilliant ideas, and be smarter than the average bear, but if you can’t communicate effectively, you’ll never realize your potential.
You need to be able to tell and sell your ideas, bring people along, connect with others, and communicate in a way that creates trust and rapport.
”Powerful, persuasive communication leads to success–personal success, career success, and organizational success.
Communication cultures are created–not wished into existence.
Great communicators model the masters, practice the strategies, and measure the results.”
The 9 Laws of Effective Communication Skills
You can apply the 9 fundamental laws of communication to exponentially improve your communication skills.
According to Booher, these are the 9 fundamental laws of effective communication:
- The Law of Trust vs. Distrust
- The Law of Collaboration vs. Monologue
- The Law of Simplicity vs. Complexity
- The Law of Tact vs. Insensitivity
- The Law of Potential vs. Achievement
- The Law of Distinction vs. Dilution
- The Law of Specialty vs. Generalization
- The Law of Emotion vs. Logic
- The Law of Perspective vs. Distortion
Using the 9 Laws of Effective Communication Skills
Knowledge is power, but only if you apply it.
You can use the 9 Laws of Effective Communication Skills to evaluate your current communication style.
Do you talk to much, and turn your conversations into a monologue?
Do you deliver your messages with tact, or do you slap people upside the head with your insensitivity?
For each of the 9 Laws of Effective Communication Skills, you can see what effective communication skills look like and then contrast that with what ineffective communication skills look like.
And keep in mind that the quality of your communication is the results that you produce.
Law #1. The Law of Trust vs. Distrust
The culture fosters trust or the speaker takes steps to build trust or transfer trust.
The speaker or culture creates distrust.
Law #2. The Law of Collaboration vs. Monologue
Communicators find shared values and goals. They collaborate on challenges and outcomes and build bridges to close the gaps in misunderstandings.
What the communicator assumes is obvious, is not.
All communication is one-directional.
Law #3. The Law of Simplicity vs. Complexity
Clear language sharpens focus and drives action.
Complex language obscures ideas and priorities.
Law #4. The Law of Tact vs. Insensitivity
Persuasive people use precise, powerful, yet tactful phrasing.
Careless, insensitive “hot” words offend and sidetrack people from the primary message.
Law #5. The Law of Potential vs. Achievement
People are willing to risk/pay more for potential than past performance.
People undervalue performance and are less persuaded by the past than expectations and hope for future possibilities.
Law #6. The Law of Distinction vs. Dilution
A focus on the core distinctive advantage, benefit, qualifications, or credentials (or penalties) produces high impact. A focus on “the few” actually adds, rather than subtracts attention.
A long list of advantages, benefits, qualifications, credentials or benefits looks impressive. So communicators often follow the more-is-better rule, thereby weakening impact.
Law #7. The Law of Specialty vs. Generalization
To be meaningful and memorable, information has to be specific, relevant, interpreted, and structured to fit the audience, situation, and purpose.
Generic information does not make a strong impression and is easily forgotten.
Law #8. The Law of Emotion vs. Logic
An emotional appeal persuades.
A logical case informs—but rarely motivates.
Law #9. The Law of Perspective vs. Distortion
Empathy, silence, understanding different points of view and cultures, and reading between the lines about what’s not said often reveals the real message and produces the best outcome for negotiators.
Hearing only what’s said leaves many gaps in one’s understanding.
Use Your Power
Your communication skills are your power.
Practice your communication skills to take your work and life to the next level.
As you practice, remember the wise words of George Bernard Shaw:
“The single biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”